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Alastair Simms at Barrels R Us

Alastair Simms is the only Master Brewery Cooper, Along with three Journeyman Coopers, left working in the UK brewing industry.


Alastair began working as an apprentice cooper in May 1979, with a six month trial period at Theakston's Brewery, Masham, North Yorkshire, which is his home town. After completing his trial period, Alastair signed his indentures, compelling him to a four year bound apprenticeship under the watchful eye of Master Cooper Clive Hollis.



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Alastair successfully completed his apprenticeship in November 1983 with the traditional 'trussing in' ceremony which qualified him as a Journeyman Cooper.


In July 1990, Alastair took on Peter Coates as an apprentice, who qualified in July 1994, making Alastair a Master Cooper.


In 1995, after 16 years at Theakston, Alastair decided it was time for a change and came to work at Wadworth, replacing Eddy Hodder who had just retired. Alastair's mentor, Clive Hollis, sadly passed away in August 1998 leaving his apprentice, Jonathan Manby, to Alastair in his will. Alastair guided Jonathan to his 'trussing in' ceremony in June 1999 and he is still working in Masham as a Journeyman Cooper for T & R Theakston.

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Alastair can take on commissions related to wooden casks. If you have an idea, please contact him and discuss the project.




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Northgate Brewery

Devizes, Wiltshire

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Video: Watch Alastair in action..